Recently I attended an international voice teacher’s conference with the Institute for Vocal Advancement (IVA). I learned so much and I look forward to sharing a lot of what I learned in your upcoming lessons. One of the highlights was watching Dan Reynolds the lead singer of Imagine Dragons being interviewed. His voice teacher Jeffrey Skouson asked him many questions related to his career but also his journey as a vocalist. Here are 3 important ‘lessons’ that we can all use no matter where we our in our vocal journey:
Make vocal health a priority: Dan stressed how much rest and eating habits can effect his voice and how he makes this a top priority to ensure his instrument (which is what people are coming to watch) is healthy. He spoke about how he follows an anti inflammatory diet and ensures that he gets 8 hours of sleep every night. Also, he doesn’t eat 4 hours before bed. In a job where artists are needed not only on stage but in interviews, business meetings, ‘meet and greets’ the voice can get fatigued a lot faster than the average person. Many artists have ended up in vocal trouble having to cancel concert tour dates (very recently Sam Smith) due to vocal health decline.
Vocalize daily: Dan spoke about how he practices his last recorded singing lesson on a daily basis to ensure his voice stays in shape. On stage he may work hard vocally and take some chances vocally, but he can always come back to his technique in his lesson the next day to bring his voice back to balance. “I listen to the 20 minute exercises from my last lesson and I notice that if I don’t do even one day, the next day my voice is not as controlled, I can’t hit the high notes the right way…it doesn’t matter if I have sang properly for a year, if I don’t continually do it, I lose it”
Stay grounded: Dan said that when an artist becomes successful everyone asks about yourself and you can become as he put, a “sad individual”. He spoke about how he doesn’t mind stopping to take pictures with fans and that fame doesn’t bother him because he has been able to stay grounded through this major change in his life. He talked about how mowing his lawn is so important to him because it represents that he won’t ever have too big of an ego to want someone else to do it. Not only is he a successful rockstar with millions of records sold, what’s so great is he has remained a great vocalist and a humble human being.
Alida is a singing teacher and the owner of Alida Vocal Studio, which provides singing lessons to vocalists of all ages and genres, based in Vancouver, BC Canada.